What to do when you’ve lost your Mojo


Most of us have heard the expression “mojo”, in American songs perhaps, but have you ever stopped to wonder what it means? I was working with a client recently when I heard a senior executive describe a colleague as having “lost their mojo”, and this novel expression used in a workplace context set me thinking. What does mojo mean, exactly, and what can we do to get it back when it has been lost?
I went online to The Oxford dictionary and this is what I found:

Mojo chiefly US

• a magic charm, talisman, or spell: someone must have their mojo working over at the record company
• [mass noun] influence, especially magic power.

So it seems that our mojo is that special power or influence that we have, perhaps our unique talent or ability to make things happen, influence others or get things done.

Few of us in a business context would admit to using spells and charms as such, (unless you are a white witch) to bring success and good fortune.  Few of us in the world of work call upon magic spells and charms to achieve our goals, but most of us will recognize and appreciate that people do have unique energy and talent, and that sometimes their achievements can look and feel like magic, particularly when things seem to happen easily or effortlessly around them.

Which lead me to question; what is my own mojo? We need to know ourselves. Self awareness is the starting point for this.  If we are not clear about our own drivers, special talents, unique gifts and abilities then we should seek feedback from close colleagues, teachers and trusted friends.  Ask them to describe for you those unique characteristics that they admire and value about you.  Reflect on how you make things happen. Where does your energy come from? What do you enjoy doing? What do you do well?  We are unlikely to notice that we are losing or have indeed lost something, if we don’t know what it is. Only when we know ourselves and realize what our mojo is, can we do something about it.

Reasons for losing our mojo are various. Sometimes it is due to boredom that our enthusiasm wanes. Perhaps we are facing challenges that are too big for us.  Maybe we have simply become exhausted through over exertion and lack of rest. Possibly we are de-motivated by lack of recognition and reward and our efforts no longer seem worthwhile. Whatever the reason, it is important to identify that something needs to change in order for your mojo to be restored.

So we need to be prepared to make change.  If we keep doing the same things then we tend to keep getting the same results. So decide what you can change and then do something about it. Take some action. Try something different.   Ask yourself whether to stay or go. Can you find more happiness and meaning by changing the situation or by changing yourself?  What are your real alternatives? Conduct an analysis that clarifies what you need to change – make your decision – accept the trade offs – and get on with life. Remembering of course that you can’t change everything, so you might have to change what you can and let go of what you can’t. 

Finally, you don’t need to have a personal mission statement, but it does help to have a sense of purpose in your life. When you are on a mission you give yourself a strong sense of purpose, and this adds clarity to the actions that you take and the decisions that follow. A mission provides focus, points you in a new direction, leads to changes in your behavior, resulting in perceptual changes. So live your life in the small moments; living and breathing your personal mission, and that is how you will get your mojo back.

© Barbara Capstick
August 2011.